In Latin America November 1, All Saints Day, and November 2, All Souls Day are known as Dias de Los Muertos. They provide a unique opportunity to remember our loved ones and invite them into our thoughts and lives again.

 

Generally November 1 is set aside for the children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2.

From mid-October through the first week of November, markets and shops all over Latin America are filled with paraphenalia associated with this holiday.


This includes all kinds of skeletons and toys, papel picado (intricate tissue paper cut-outs), wreaths and crosses decorated with paper or silk flowers; candles, votive lights; and fresh seasonal flowers; particularly cempazuchiles (marigolds).

 

There are also special baked goods and candies sometimessahped like skulls, coffins and made from sugar, chocolate or amaranth seeds, sugary sweet rolls called pan de muerto. At home members of the family might use their purchases to decorate an elaborate an altar in honor of deceased relatives; using papel picado, candles, flowers, photographs of departed loved ones, candy skulls inscribed with the name of the deceased, and a selection of his or her favorite foods and beverages. and a selection of toys and extra sweets for deceasedchildren.The light of numerous candles are intended to help the departed find their way.

 

     

At the family burial plot in the local panteon, relatives clean and decorate each family plot. In rural villages this may entail cutting down weeds that have sprouted up during the rainy season, as well as giving tombs a fresh coat of paint after making any needed structural repairs. The graves are decorated according to local custom. The graves may beadorned by a cross formed of marigold petals or elaborately embellished with colorful coronas (wreaths) and fresh or artificial floral floral arrangements. In many areas children's graves are decorated with brightly colored paper streamers, balloons and perhaps a favorite toy. On November 2 family members gather at the cemetery for festive gravesite reunion. Some bring along picnic baskets, bottles of tequila for toasting the departed or even a mariachi band to lead a heartfelt sing-along.

 
While death is a topic largely avoided in the USA, the remembrance of deceased ancestors and loved ones is traditional among diverse cultures around the globe, often marked by lighting candles or lamps and laying out offerings of food and drink. In Latin America the Day of the Dead is an interesting mix of pre-Hispanic and Roman Catholic rituals. What's important is to honor the memory of those who are with us in our memories during these special days.  

 

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